It is that time of year where picture book love is celebrated and shared! Yes, Picture book 10 for 10 is here!
This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to both of them for the work they do to promote this wonderful day of picture book sharing!
This is my fourth year participating in this event. In 2012, I shared ten beloved titles. In 2013, I went with a theme: Connections across the generations. Last year (2014) I shared ten “go to” titles on various themes like generosity, courage and forgiveness.
This year I decided to share ten historical fiction titles that are favourites of mine. When we can engage children with wondering and thinking about another time and place and what it was like for people who lived then, our discussions automatically center on who we are as people. Such rich and important conversations to have. Many of these titles can also be shared with students as we try and read more diverse titles in our classrooms.
My top ten favourites on this theme: Historical Fiction
That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small (2008)
What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.
Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue (2001)
A story of friendship, prejudice and courage set in the American South in 1964. Beautifully written – lyrical text and honest emotions, this book is one of the best historical fiction picture books I have read.
Busing Brewster written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by R.G. Roth (2010)
A picture book with many important themes: having a dream, the power of libraries to be transformative and what it was like to be black at an all white school. Set in the 1970s when integration was being “helped” along by forced busing – bringing black students into white schools, this story gives children a glimpse into the racial tensions of the time and the complexities of integration.
Shi-shi-etko written by Nicola Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave (2005)
Shi-shi-etko has only four more days until she must attend residential school. She spends these precious days with her family, in nature gathering her memories and avsorbing the wisdom of her family. Such a beautiful book about a very heartbreaking topic. My students were mesmerized. And full of questions.
Lizzie Nonsense by Jan Ormerod (2004)
The illustrations in this title are incredible. It is nostalgic. Lonely. Gives us a glimpse of the hardships of early pioneer life. Set, so very beautifully, in Australia.
The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis (2001)
This author/illustrator combination create absolute magic. So much in one little picture book with huge implications for discussion. In a segregated town, black and white don’t mix. A fence that represents the division of race becomes just a fence at the end of the story when a whole row of girls perches atop it.
Elsie’s Bird written by Jane Yolen and David Small (2010)
It is the late 1800s and Elsie has lost her mother. Her father moves her to the Nebraska prairie from their home in Boston. When Elsie’s beloved canary escapes his cage she must venture out into the landscape of this new quiet, open space. Both Yolen and Small are at their best – this is a literary and visual treat.
Red Kite, Blue Kite written by Ji-li Jiang and illustrated by Greg Ruth (2013)
Rich in truth and history (based on the story of the author’s family friend), this book is set during the Cultural Revolution in China. It is the story of father and son – separated by distance and circumstances who stay connected through kites in the sky. Heartbreaking but full of hope. Such a beautiful book.
A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road by Bonnie Christensen (2013)
An appealing book on so many levels – the history, the geography, the adventure, the culture – wow. The story begins with one girl in China (ninth century China) who dreams of traveling The Silk Road trade route. Not able to travel even part of the way with her father, she asks him to bring a single pebble to send along the road to a child somewhere further along. The path of the pebble is incredible as it is passed from person to person finally ending up in Italy. My son read this book and found it fascinating – all of the old maps and interesting journey.
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2015)
This book does so much. As we travel through time with a recipe for a simple summer dessert, we are treated to a history lesson that is much more than how kitchen utensils and appliances have changed. Sometimes, history titles have heavy themes. This one is about the everyday of cooking together. Pure delight.
I have other favourites on this theme that I didn’t include. Check out my Historical Fiction Pinterest board.
Follow along on twitter using the #pb10for10 hashtag. All posts will be linked on the Google Community Site for Picture Book 10 for 10
Happy picture book reading!